The Third Sunday in Advent
THE SHEPHERDS’ CANDLE
This Sunday we celebrate the 3rd Sunday in Advent and we light the pink candle also know as the Shepherds’ candle. The Shepherds’ candle reminds us of how God sent the angels to proclaim His arrival to common man and that the Savior and King of this world came in a lower and more humble way than any of us could dare try. But, what’s the significance of angels appearing first to shepherds and not any of the spiritual leaders, the Rabbis or even the political leaders to announce that the real King has come? Why shepherds watching flocks by night? Was not a shepherd the lowliest of occupations at this time in this region who carried no position or power of any kind? If this is God Himself and the sovereign King, why would He not come with all the glory and honor that was due Him?
Just as there is no one who can ascend above Him in heaven or on earth, there is no one who can humble themselves and descend below Him. Christ came for the broken, the poor, the fatherless and the widow. He came for wretched sinners. He came for us. He came into this world more lowly than us. He redeems us. The announcement came to lowly shepherds to remind us and show us that Emmanuel, God is with us, was getting ready to walk among His people and to save them.
Let us rejoice that we have a King unlike any other; no earthly king would ever empty themselves of their glory to live in squaller among the people they rule. BUT, our King would and did! Let us remember that Christ is in all we deem unlovely. Let us desire to become like shepherds. Let us desire to be meek and lowly. Let us desire Christ.
Who has believed what he has heard from us? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. ~Isaiah 53:1-6 ESV
WORSHIP IN SONG
The central theme of Advent can be found in this hymn. So much waiting, pleading, hope and most of all, rejoicing. We will sing this song each Sunday in Advent to not only remind us of, but lead us into the glorious moment when our Savior first appeared. And, also, to remind us He will come again and make all things new!
O COME, O COME EMMANUEL
O come, O come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear
Emmanuel, shall come to thee, O Israel
O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan’s tyranny
From depths of Hell Thy people save
And give them victory o’er the grave
O come, Thou Day-Spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death’s dark shadows put to flight
O come, Thou Key of David, come
And open wide our heavenly home
Make safe the way that leads on high
And close the path to misery
GOD KEEPS HIS PROMISE :: ISAIAH 9:6-7
 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this. (ESV)
GOD’S WORD PREACHED :: MATTHEW 3
 In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea,  “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”  For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said,
“The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; make his paths straight.’”
 Now John wore a garment of camel’s hair and a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey.  Then Jerusalem and all Judea and all the region about the Jordan were going out to him,  and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.
 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?  Bear fruit in keeping with repentance.  And do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father,’ for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham.  Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
 “I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.  His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”
The Baptism of Jesus
 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him.  John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?”  But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented.  And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him;  and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” (ESV)